Button battery safety

Small round batteries are commonly called button, coin or disc batteries because of their appearance. These small shiny batteries are very attractive to inquisitive children and it can take just a split second for a child to swallow one.

X-ray photo of lithium button battery wedged in childs throatMore than one child a month in Australia is seriously injured after swallowing or inserting button batteries. Injuries include severe internal burns through the oesophagus, stomach, bowel or even inside the ear or nostril if inserted. This damage can happen in just 1 hour and can be fatal. Unfortunately three young children in Australia have tragically died as a result of swallowing button batteries.

If you think your child or any person has swallowed or inserted a button battery, don’t wait for them to show symptoms. You need to take urgent action. Immediately call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 for expert advice on what to do. If the person is choking or has collapsed, stopped breathing, or is having a fit phone 000 for an ambulance.

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